An agreement to establish tele-medicine and tele-education centres signed here yesterday between the Ethiopian Information Communication Technology Development Agency (EICTDA) and the Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL).

The agreement entitles the Indian company to establish the tele-medicine and tele-education centres in Ethiopia which lasts three years with possibilities of extension.

The Indian Government will cover the 2.1 million birr budget necessary for the execution of the establishment of the trial project which will be finalized after few months.

The agreement was signed by the Agency Director Debre-Tsihon Gebre-Michael and Project Director Rattan Singh.

The centres will enable Ethiopians to benefit from the medical treatment and education service from countries abroad using satellite connectivity.

The establishment of the centres will have a higher value by providing the scenario for exchange of experience, transfer of technology as well as cost minimization.

The Addis Ababa University and the Black Lion Hospital will serve as the centres for the tele-education and tele-medicine respectively.

Various institutes out of Addis including the Adamma University and the Adamma Health College will be connected to the service providing centres.

The technology will be implemented throughout the country based on the success of the trial projects.

Speaking at the ceremony Director of the Agency Debre-Tsihon said the Ethiopian Government has given due attention to the Information Communication Development considering it as one industrial sector.

He said several projects related to the sector are under implementation and the tele-medicine and tele-education is in line with this trend.

The director said Ethiopia is the first country to sign for the establishment of the pilot project planned by the Indian government to expand the project throughout Africa.

Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia Gurjet Singh on his part said his government has planned and is acting to expand the use of information communication technology in Africa adding that he is contented with the fact that Ethiopia being the first beneficiary of the project.

He said a high level Indian experts' delegation will arrive here soon in order to realize the project.

He said an agreement has been concluded between the Indian Government and AU to implement the project throughout Africa.

The project that can link African countries using e- net is declared by the Indian President Doctor A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during the establishment of the African parliament on September 16, 2004 in Johannesburg.

The ambassador said his government will cover the 63.7 million birr budget necessary to realize the project of all African electronics network.